British Sherman Mk.III
Mid Production Sicily

Dragon 1:35 Kit #6231
Review by Terry Ashley


This latest Sherman release from Dragon follows the recent M4A2 Tarawa (kit #6062) and Sherman III (kit #6313) to represent a mid production type Sherman III with welded driver's hoods as used during the Sicily campaign. The name Sherman III is the British Army designation for the M4A2.

The kit:

The new kit has 386 parts in light grey plastic (although quite a few are not used here) with 22 in clear plastic, a large fret of etched metal and metal tow cable plus the decal sheet with a single marking "option" and the instruction sheet along with a set of full length WD212 (WE210 Double I) tracks in Dragon’s DS vinyl.


The standard of moulding is typical Dragon with good crisp details and a minimum of flash, pin marks or other blemishes with only the usual minor moulding seams to be cleaned off the parts as with any kit plus the array of small plastic nodes that help keep pin marks at bay and the little extra cleanup is worth it.

The sprues included in this kit sees Sprue A & B from the recent Tarawa Sherman (kit #6062) and Sherman Mk.III (kit #6313), suspension sprues D and V from kits #6188, #6255, #6062 and #6313 with these having a lineage right back to the original Italeri Sherman kits plus additional sprue B parts for a new transmission housing and a revised sprue D for the hull with welded driver's hoods (note there are two sprue Ds, one for the suspension parts and one for the hull parts so watch this during construction).

Dragon continue to improve their Sherman kits with each new release and thankfully some of the issues mentioned in my previous reviews of the M4A2/Sherman III kits have been addressed and Dragon are to be applauded for this.

The updates include the welded driver's hoods extended forward by about 1mm allowing the correct thickness in front of the periscope housings, the new final drive housings the correct size as well as the central row of bolt heads on the rear plate now correctly offset to the left as well as the new DS vinyl WD212 (WE210 Double I) track.

But there are still some detail issues to contend with if this concerns you and as said previously I simply present the information and facts for your perusal and it's up to the individual to take or leave this as they see fit.

Lower Hull:

The lower hull tub from the Tarawa & Sherman III kits has the underside bolted strip at the front and includes sponson covers and the lower engine compartment detail applicable to the M4A2 with inserts at the sides to take the suspension bogie plates as well as the upper rear section with engine exhaust deflector also a separate part.

At the front is a new early rounded cast transmission cover which is moulded in one piece and features a subtle cast surface texture as well as casting foundry numbers but the drain plugs on the underside are missing but other than that is quite an impressive moulding. The upper bolted strip is a separate part that fits neatly to the top of the cover but watch the angle as it can easily be lined up incorrectly.

To add the two towing shackles requires the locating holes be drilled out from the inside and care should be taken to drill these evenly as there is scope for misalignment if not careful.

The outer final drive housings are the correct size and fit neatly to the sides of the transmission cover and include the upper hull bolted flange but there should be 8 prominent bolt heads on the hull sides to attach the transmission housings but these are missing.

To add these I used a hex punch & die set to punch out the bolt heads from plastic card and glue in place on the hull side just in front of the first bogie mounting plate, all very easy and I hope that is enough coverage of that omission?

Hull bolts added

There are additional weld seams that can be added at the hull sponson join and at the back of the sponson covers as well as the drain plug on the undersides of the sponson covers if you want to add this additional detail but its sort of wasted on this kit due to the full sand shields fitted later but should be on all Sherman welded hulls.

The original sharp nosed single piece transmission cover from the previous kits is still included but is not applicable to the Sherman III in the kit and can be consigned to the spares box.

The separate rear plate has the M4A2 exhaust arrangement with separate top exhaust deflector as well as the idler wheel mountings and central towing pintle.

The fit of the assembled transmission cover to the hull was okay but the upper edge didn't mate exactly with the hull and underside sponson fillers leaving a small gap at the top but again this is mostly hidden by the tracks and even more so with the sand shields used on this kit so is not really an issue.


Two sets of suspension bogie housings are provided in the kit with the original straight arm suspension arm and spaced return roller support and later angled return roller arm but you should use the straight arm bogies for the Sherman III featured in the kit.

There are separate track guides that could do with some thinning as they are quite thick and the four securing bolts should be added. These are actually included separately on sprue V although the instructions don’t mention them but you can cut these from the sprue to add to the guides if you wish to use them? The bogies and arms are nicely detailed with the three bottom bolts and fine casting numbers on the bogies and arms although these were often in different places depending on the manufacturer but add a nice detail touch.

There are also two sets of road wheels and idlers wheels in the kit, the pressed solid spoked type which have basic grease nipple detail and back inserts and the open spoke wheels which are the ones that should be used with the Sherman III in the kit.

There are again two types of drive sprocket supplied, the ‘Fancy Smooth’ sprocket and the solid ‘Simple Plate’ sprocket and the ‘Fancy Smooth’ sprockets should be used for the Sherman III in the kit and these have the sprockets separate from the inner hub/drum which allows quite good hub bolt detail to be included.

Note; while there are alternate bogie housings and road wheels in the kit you can only make one full set of suspension bogies as there is just the one set of lower bogie arms provided.


As mentioned the kit has new full length WD212 (WE210 Double I) tracks in light beige coloured DS vinyl which have excellent detail incorporated on the end connectors and links pads and these can be glued together using normal plastic cement.

The fit of the DS tracks around the drive sprockets is very good making for easy fitting but you may have to glue the tracks to the bogie track skids for a natural sit due to the curl of the vinyl track.

These are thankfully again packed flat in the box eliminating any damage and the inclusion of these tracks is a nice bonus over the usual "standard" type Sherman track offered especially considering the specific single vehicle marking included with the kit.

Nicely detailed DS vinyl track

Upper Hull:

The early 56° hull from the Tarawa & Sherman III kits has had the front section revised to include the welded driver’s hoods and has all the angles correct and also features the raised weld beads around the hull which I have mentioned previously don't equate to the references available to me.
These references indicate the weld seams have a flowing texture as opposed to the pitted style on the kit welds but I guess there is no point flogging a dead weld seam?

The weld seams at the front around the welded driver’s hood are the correct flowing texture so it shouldn’t be that hard to represent this style on the rest of the hull.

The instructions indicate to open up 10 locating holes from the inside of the rear hull for the placement of the pioneer tools before gluing the upper and lower hull parts together.
Personally I would not open these out if you intended to replace the tool brackets with etched items to leave the hull intact for a better appearance. It may also be cleaner to leave the holes closed even if using the kit tools as the overhead view in the painting instructions show the location of the tools which are standard for any Sherman in any case.

On small point is there is a very fine mould line where the new hull front meets the original rear end which is nearly invisible and easy to remove but will show up during final weathering if not eliminated.

The hull features separate parts for the fuel filler caps, lifting eyes, head and tail lights with a choice of plastic or etched bush guards as well as all the pioneer tools which have moulded on tool brackets. Also included is the bracket fitted behind the fire extinguisher handles on the rear deck and the separate ventilator cover. The head and tail lights are included as clear parts allowing for a clear lens with careful painting, but you should paint the back of the light silver before adding the final cam finish otherwise the lens will be the same colour as the cam finish.

There are a couple of minor detail issues in that the ventilator dome covers are slightly too small inside their guards and the rear grouser compartment covers are too wide and deep by about 1mm meaning the inner edge is too close to the engine deck by that distance.

The engine deck is also separate with separate engine access doors with louvre detail on both sides with the fit of the doors to the deck and the deck to the hull being very snug not requiring ay trimming.

The crew hatches at the front have detail on both sides but there is quite a large pin mark on the inside with the hatches which would have been covered by the head pads if these were in the kit and you can add these to cover the pin marks. There are separate periscope mountings with clear periscopes plus separate periscope covers, grab handle and hatch retaining springs which are a little on the thick side and you may want to replace with thin wire springs.

As mentioned the weld seams around the welded driver’s hoods are nicely done but there are two round ‘lumps’ next to the head lights and these should be cut off as they represent the headlamp socket plug which are usually attached to the sides of the head light bush guards.

The aerial pot also needs the weld beads revised for a better look while the welds around the upper ventilator guards are the correct flowing type but those around the turret guard and rear fuel filler guards the pitted style, easy enough to fix.

If it’s not getting too picky you could also drill out the drain holes in the ventilator, turret and fuel cap guards to add to the details.

On the rear hull are ten small bolt heads which have the locations marked with painted dots on the plastic and you are provided with the bolt heads on the etched fret. The bolts on the centre line now have the correct slight offset to the left and the etched bolts are simply glued onto the paint dots.

Etched parts are included for the front fenders and the fender attachment strip along the lower sides of the hull sides as well as for the full fender suite as used on the British Sherman IIIs in the Middle East/Italy and while some careful bending will be required they give a better scale appearance than you could get with plastic shields as well as field modified plates welded onto the rear upper hull sides for storage.

Given there is only one decal marking provided as below these additional hull storage plates are applicable to the vehicle featured only and are not a common feature seen on British Sherman IIIs of the period. This also applies to the rear section of the sand skirts which are not fitted to "CLIVE" while others would most likely have the full fender suite attached?

The metal tow cable supplied would need to be annealed by running through a candle flame to get a natural sit on the vehicle as it is very springy as it comes but again is a nice inclusion for additional detail definition.


The early low bustle 75mm turret is from the Tarawa & Sherman III kits and has the upper shell and lower ring as separate parts with all fittings also separate parts, this includes the periscope mountings and clear plastic periscopes as well as the separate pistol port door with inner support bracket.

Included on the turret shell is a nice subtle cast texturing but to achieve the pistol port details, slide moulds were used which have left a raised mould seam around the port which you will have to remove and then reinstate the cast texture with “Mr. Surfacer” of similar, this will also be needed at the rear upper and lower part join. But it should be noted that there is actually a raised weld seam where the join line is (not the exact same location) and this should also be added.

There is no cast texture on the right rear of the turret wall due to moulding constraints and you may wish to add this with “Mr. Surfacer” for a more uniform look.

On the inside of the gun opening is added a separate bolted ring for the gun shield which of course can’t be seen after assembly but it is nice attention to detail to add this as a separate part.

The kit includes the earlier M34 and later M34A1 gun mounting from the Tarawa & Sherman III kits with he early M34 mounting applicable to the Sherman III in this kit and this includes cast surface texturing and a choice of rotor covers, one with and one without the protective “ears” for the barrel.

There are a couple of minor issues with the M34 gun shield in that the outer contours are too sharp and should be more rounded, easy to fix with some light sanding but you will have to add back the cast texturing and there should also be casting numbers on the right side of the shield.

On the left side there is a lip around the co-ax machine gun opening but the contours of the lip are too rounded as depicted and it should also be noted that most British Sherman IIIs of the time did not use the small machine gun shield as supplied in the kit.

Updated May 5, 2008;
It has been brought to my attention that there was another issue with the M34 Gun shield which I did not notice on this or the shield in the first Sherman III kit #6313 (oh shame on me!) in that the co-axial MG opening was positioned 1mm too high in the shield.

The position of the MG opening has been corrected on the shield in this kit (i.e. moved 1mm lower) but for some obscure reason the other known issues have not been addressed. One would assume that if you re-visit a part to correct one small issue you would also correct those more prominent known issues on the same part?

Image showing the issues with the M34 gun shield
1. The shield contours too sharp, not corrected
2. The contours of the lip around co-axial MG opening incorrect, not corrected
Note: there are a number of variations in this lip and on some gun shields there is no lip at all as shown
in the three reference photos below, but none that I could find match the contours on the kit shield.
3. The co-axial MG opening 1mm too high on the original shield, corrected.
4. Casting numbers on right side of shield, not corrected.


The 75mm gun is moulded in one piece with hollowed out muzzle and just the small moulding seam the be eliminated and the co-ax .30 machine gun has very nice perforated jacket detail and the muzzle is also hollowed out slightly but you may want to drill this out further for a better look.

The split Commander’s hatch has no cast texturing and also has a large moulding seam around the outside that will be easy enough to remove and the split hatches have no pin marks to worry about and separate periscopes, grab handles and inner fittings.

The forward vane sight is in two etched halves to give the stepped looks and there is also a finely moulded .50cal MG clip on the hatch ring but no .50cal MG is included in the kit even though it is shown on the box art?

Other details are a nicely detailed search light, alternate aerial mounts at the back but no British style No.19 radio aerial mounting is included and the three different foundry cast logos in etched brass included in the previous Sherman III kit are not included with this kit. Also added to the rear bustle is an additional British style storage box with small plastic tie downs and etched stowage straps that were often fitted here.

A couple of small issue are the undersized ventilator dome cover the front mounted lifting eye (part B5) should be moved further back spaced evenly between the gun shield and top ventilator which will mean filling the locating holes in the turret roof if you wish to move this.

Overall this is very good early 75mm turret and probably one of the better you will find in plastic this side of a Tasca kit or resin casting but there are a few things to watch for during construction.


The small decal sheet is well printed with good colour register and closely cropped carrier film but has markings for just one Sherman III, "CLIVE" from the 3rd County of London Yeomanry, British Army, Sicily 1943 and one could say this is a special kit of a particular vehicle much like the special markings for some of the Tiger I and StuG kits.

This dearth of options is surprising given the number of quite colourful markings applied to Commonwealth Sherman IIIs in Italy and as used by Polish forces, but I guess this leaves the door wide open for aftermarket decal makers to fill the void.

  1. Dragon

These are the usual exploded view drawings that are a little busy in places and can be confusing unless you study them very closely before any assembly but overall are there shouldn't be any real problems as the kit is not overly complicated.


This is overall another good rendition of the Sherman with ongoing updates added for a good representation of a Sherman III with welded driver's hoods with some well defined details such as the turret, the raised hull welds even if not quite right and the new rounded transmission cover plus the WD212 (WE210 Double I) DS vinyl tracks.

The kit will build into a very nice Sherman III but as with any kit there are some detail issues but in the overall scheme of things will be a very useful addition to the Sherman ranks and if the nice .30cal and .50cal from the recent half-track kit were included it would have made it even more versatile and ‘finished off’ nicely.

The limited markings included restrict the finishing of the kit somewhat and means you can't deviate from the features of "CLIVE" unless alternate markings are acquired.

Highly recommended 8/10

The Sprues

Click on thumbnails for larger view
Detail images
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SHERMAN A History of the
American Medium Tank

R.P.Hunnicutt. Presidio Books ISBN 0-89141-080-5
Modeler's Guide to the Sherman
MMIR Special. Ampersand Publishing Company, Inc

Thanks to my credit card and the excellent service from Hobbyeasy for the review kit.

Page created May 2, 2008
Updated May 5, 2008 Blue Text